PITTSBURGH — If you looked around the Petersen Events Center closely enough on Saturday afternoon, a couple of Kenny Pickett’s No. 8 shirseys littered the sparsely packed arena — with the crowd seemingly growing as the game wore on.
Kenny Pickett may not have been in attendance at the Pete for the Pitt-North Carolina State basketball game, but when he was shown on the jumbotron, the noise that erupted from the crowd more than made up for it.
Pitt’s 2021 ACC title-winning squad was on hand for Saturday’s game, with a mass of men in blue Pitt tracksuits sitting behind the home basket — filling up most of a section.
The entire mob of Pitt football players trailed down onto the court during a media timeout, waving and hyping up the crowd as a video montage of Pitt’s 2021 season played on the jumbotron, each week flashing by before it ended with Pickett lifting the ACC championship trophy at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. — the same one that sat in the Pete for fans to take pictures with Saturday afternoon.
— Karl Ludwig (@LudwigKarl8) February 12, 2022
The noise inside the Pete steadily grew throughout the montage, especially as Pitt’s individual award winners and honorees were shown on the jumbotron. While Pickett and Jordan Addison were not in attendance, Calijah Kancey and Cal Adomitis — who was also honored with the Community Champion Award as the Panthers Achievers in the Community recipient — received raucous applause. And “Duuuuuuzzzz,” rang out around the arena as Pat Narduzzi was shown on the jumbotron.
Pickett obviously put together perhaps the best season in Pitt history, winning the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, being named as the ACC Player of the Year and finishing third in Heisman Trophy voting. Addison won the third Biletnikoff Award in Pitt history, finishing as the best wide receiver in college football and consensus All-American. Kancey earned All-ACC first-team honors, and Adomitis won the Mannelly Award as the nation’s top long snapper.
While the entire Pitt football team didn’t stay for the second half of Pitt-NCST, which is a random conference game in early February for a team without tournament expectations, a solid chunk of the team stuck around and watched as Pitt basketball battled to a 71-69 win over the Wolfpack to pick up their 10th win of the season.
Pitt football’s spring ball is kicking off now, and spring practices officially begin at the end of February. The Pitt Blue-Gold Spring Game is set for Saturday, April 9 at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field. Pitt’s 2022 season opener is also scheduled for Heinz Field, hosting West Virginia in a renewal of the Backyard Brawl on Thursday, Sept. 1.
A large portion of the 2021 team honored at the Pete Saturday will be in the lineup against West Virginia, so Pitt’s chances at repeating in the ACC features a large veteran presence.